“Filipek” – one of the boats from the same school we were preparing for our exam with, suffered an engine failure and on Friday afternoon our “Parcifal” helped tow poor “Filipek” to the marina, since the wind around was slowly dying out. I remember two phone calls coming to Krystian that day – one from Ania, an instructor preparing two more people for the exam at “Filipek”, asking for a tow and from Slawek, updating Krystian about the changes to the exam date. The exam was happening on Friday, 5 June in the afternoon and I was still feeling unprepared for the challenge. But that is life, is it not? You cannot predict everything, you need to learn to deal with unpredictable too.
First we helped to tow “Filipek” to marina, sorted out “Parcifal” and went for our last meal on the marina, as we were heading to Marcin’s brother after exam. I was getting anxious and quite nervous, still not entirely sure if I should try or not. I have decided to focus on my lunch first and worry later – we still had at least 2 hours to sail after all!
It is quite funny but I did not realize, being trained on a boat with a tiller, that if you have a steering wheel, if you want your boat to go left you push your wheel to the left, and if you want go right, well, not hard to guess in which direction your wheel should go! With the tiller, you need to go left if you want to go right and right if you want to go left. After a week on a boat with a tiller the habit was imbedded in me very strongly and did not help much during the exam! O, well, I probably did not tell you that we were doing the exam on both boats, did I?
During the exam, after passing the theory (75 questions and you can only make mistakes in 10 – so my stubbornness and making Marcin read all the materials really paid off!), we needed to set off and dock, rescue a MOB and heave – on sails and on engine, apart from heave of course! You can imagine my face and what I felt when it was my turn and I had to take control of the completely unknown boat with a steering wheel and do the MOB manoeuvre on sails and heal! And believe me, that was not an easy task! The confusion was really hard to overcome but I have found that the steering wheel is much much easier to handle than the tiller! You are feeling like a proper sailor by holding the wheel and shouting commends around! So, if we ever buy a boat, it will be the one with the steering wheel rather than the tiller. Besides you do not need to remember about changing your place after or during the manoeuvre and you can stand comfortably behind the wheel and see what is going on around you properly. Yep, definitely a boat with a steering wheel for me!
I was so happy, when we dock back in and went to find out about our results. We all passed and I had to say, that was after all one of the best experiences in my life. I am so glad I did not chicken-out, overcame my fear and decided to step out, not for the first time, from my comfort zone.
After the exam we have helped to tow “Filipek” to marina to the place with a huge crane so it could be lifted up to see what happened to its engine. I felt amazing, not only because I have passed the exam, but because for the past week we have became a part of the incredible sailing community, helping each other in the hour of need. And then I just knew I love sailing and I want to try and break the rules of quiet life and work and wait until I am retired and too old to make my dreams come true. I like traveling, but I think sailing is more up my sleeve and even though we could sell everything and go travel like many people before us, the sailing is something I want to do full time in the future. It offers something full time travel cannot – a permanent but free to move home.